Smith's heroics lead men to 59-58 win over #21 Chicago

Colby Smith '16 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)
Colby Smith '16 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University men's basketball junior guard Colby Smith (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover) made key plays on both ends of the floor in the final seconds tonight as the Judges defeated 21st ranked University of Chicago, 59-58, in a University Athletic Association contest tonight. With the win, the Judges improve to 7-8 overall, 2-2 in the UAA. Chicago suffers its first conference loss as the Maroons fall to 11-4, 3-1 UAA.

      With Brandeis down by three, 58-55, and the shot clock off, Smith had an assist on rookie Jordan Cooper's (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) bucket with 17.5 seconds left that got the Judges within one. After Brandeis sent Chicago to the line for a one-and-one with 14.6 seconds on the clock, Smith skied to grab the miss. He drove down the middle of the court and drew a foul of his own with 6.6 seconds remaining.

Smith calmly sank both free throws to put the Judges ahead, 59-58, for the first time since late in the first half. Brandeis called timeout after going ahead, and Chicago called TO as well after having trouble getting the ball in bounds. The Maroons were able to get the ball into leading scorer Jordan Smith's (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) hands. Jordan Smith dribbled the length of the court down the left sideline before making a move to the bucket. Colby Smith came out of nowhere and blocked Jordan Smith with his left hand, and the ball settled in the Judges' hands to close out the upset.

Brandeis had trailed by 10 with 7:08 to go, and the Judges were still down five at 58-53 with 2:31 on the clock. After the teams traded turnovers, Smith started the Judges' final push with a tip-in after Cooper had a steal but missed a contested lay-up. Up 58-55, Chicago's Tyler Howard (Sioux Falls, S.D./Roosevelt) looked to put the visitors back up by five on the Maroons' next possession, but his bucket was negated when he was whistled for an offensive foul with 1:31 remaining.

      Brandeis missed a 3-pointer on their next possession and were called for a foul on the rebound, but, with two fouls to give, they were able to force Howard into another offensive foul on the ensuing inbounds play with 25.1 seconds left, setting up Colby Smith's heroics.

      Smith led Brandeis with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots. He connected on 4-of-6 from the floor with a 3-pointer, and 6-of-7 from the line. Three of his seven rebounds came on the offensive end.

      The Judges finished with a balanced offense, putting three starters in double figures in scoring in addition to Smith. Cooper finished with 12 points, while sophomores Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson Acad.) and John Powell (Ashland, Mass./Brimmer and May School) each scoring 10. Powell added six rebounds, four on the offensive glass.

      After shooting just 35% from the field in the first half (8-23), the Judges connected on 50% in the second (13-26). They also hit 4-of-9 from 3-point range after the break after shooting just 1-of-6 in the first.

      Chicago was paced by Jordan Smith, who led all players with 16 points, 11 coming in the first half. He hit 7-of-13 overall, 2-of-7 from downtown and added five rebounds. Junior Nate Brooks (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, and game-highs of seven rebounds and five assists.

      Both teams return to action on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. Brandeis plays host to fourth-ranked Washington University, while Chicago travels to NYU. NYU defeated Washington tonight, 91-67.